Senate panel advances Turkey sanctions bill despite Trump objections

A Senate panel on Wednesday advanced a sanctions bill targeting Turkey over its offensive in Syria and its purchase of a Russian missile defense system.

In an 18-4 vote, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced the bill despite objections from the Trump administration and Ankara.

“We find ourselves at an inflection point with Turkey,” committee ranking member Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said. “Turkey’s actions over the past year are truly beyond the pale.”

U.S. lawmakers have been furious with Turkey since October when it launched an offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces who were integral to the U.S.-led fight against ISIS.

President Trump also faced widespread criticism for announcing a withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria, which paved the way for Turkey’s incursion.

Congress’ patience with Ankara had already been wearing thin since Turkey took delivery over the summer of the Russian-made S-400 air defense system. Turkey went through with the purchase despite warnings from U.S. officials the system was a threat to the U.S.-made F-35 fighter jet and would mean sanctions.

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